Tuesday, 26 June 2012

BHARATANATYAM NOTES



Bharatanatyam Notes


The inspiration to start this blog came from Smitha who is my other half also an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer from Hyderabad. Just like the other blog on Kuchipudi I hope to build this blog to essentially provide basic knowledge about this art form which though very popular today, but is not undertood in its entirety by even the students of Bharatanatyam. 
Being someone who has spent almost all working life chasing after knowledge and also having authored an award winning book on knowledge management, I thought it imperative for someone like me to share the knowledge I am seeking with others as after all knowledge grows only when it is shared.


In the process of chasing after knowledge there is a possibility that someone may feel offended that some or a lot of information from their site or source is being taken out without their permission. I believe and so does most cyber law statements from around the world that so long as the source is clearly identified and the quotes are being taken with the express purpose of education and spreading knowledge then the copyright laws dont apply. The intention is to educate and not profit from plagiarism!


Priya MurleWith that caution let me begin by quoting the websitehttp://www.surdhwani.com/dan_bhar.html which has this very interesting excerpt on what Bharatanatyam is all about "The contemporary form of Bharatanatyam evolved during the late 18th or early 19th century. Sadir, which was till then the domain of devadasis (girls who were dedicated to gods), reached its nadir during 1910-1930 with the degeneration of social mores. But during 1926-35, under the championship of E. Krishna Iyer, the dance regained its majesty and came to be known as Bharatanatyam.
Bharatanatyam dancers are usually women and, like the sculptures they take their positions from, always dance bent-kneed. It is an extremely precise dance style where a huge repertoire of hand movements are used to convey moods and expressions.
Bharatanatyam is vibrant and very demanding of the dancer. The body is visualized as made of triangles, one above and one below the torso. It is based upon a balanced distribution of body weight and firm positions of the lower limbs, allowing the hands to cut into a line, to flow around the body, or to take positions that enhance the basic form. A special feature of this dance form are Padams or poems on the hero-heroine theme. The tempo of these love songs is slow and each phase of the performance is crystallized into a specific mood of love."


What is Bharatanatyam


The website http://www.indiaschool.ca/bharatanatyam.htm gives this equation
BHAva(expression) + RAga (music) + TAla(rhythm) + NATYAM(dance) = Bharatanatyam
I think that is an interesting way of depicting the dance form. The website follows through with the following explanation as to the origin of the dance form.


The Gods & Goddesses pleaded Lord Brahma to create another veda which would be simple for the common man to understand. It is believed that considering this request Lord Brahma created the Panchamaveda, Fifth veda, Natyaveda, an essence of the other four vedas. It is believed that he has taken pathya (words) form the Rigveda, abhinaya (gesture) from the Yajurveda, geet (music and chant) from Samaveda and rasa (sentiment and emotional element) from Atharvaveda to form the fifth veda, Natyaveda.After creating this Natyaveda, Lord Brahma gave the same to sage Bharata and asked him to popularize this veda on earth. Following the words of Lord Brahma, sage Bharata wrote Natyashastra or the Science of Dramaturgy, a great, comprehensive work on the science and technique of Indian drama, dance and music.
Bharatanatyam might have got its name from sage Bharata also. The dancers still follow this work to perform.There is also another story which says that Godess Parvathi tought this dance form to Usha, daughter of Banasura, a demon. Usha taught the same to the Gopikas of the city of Dwaraka, Lord Krishna's birth place. Thus the divine dance form Bharatanatyam was introduced to the mankind.In Indian mythology, Lord Shiva is considered as the supreme lord of dance. This divine art form is performed by Lord Shiva & his wife Goddess Parvathi. 


The Dance performed by Lord Shiva is known as Tandava, which depicts his violent nature as the destructor of the universe. The Tandava performed with joy is called Ananda Tandava and performed in violent mood is called Rudra Tandava. There are 7 types of Tandava. Namely Ananda Tandava, Tripura Tandava, Sandhya Tandava, Samara Tandava, Kaali tandava, Uma Tandava and Gauri Tandava. There are few people who believa that there are 16 types of Tandava. Tandava has vigourous, brisk movements.The dance performed by Goddess Parvathi is known as Lasya, in which the movements are gentle, graceful and sometimes erotic also. Some scholars call Lasya as the feminine version of Tandava. Lasya has 2 kinds. Jarita Lasya and Yauvaka Lasya.




Elements of Bharatanayam
Bharatanatyam is evenly divided between three elements Nritta, Nritya and Natya .


Nritta : Rhythmic Element that interprets the language of rhythm with the help of body movements. 
Nritya : Combination of Rhythm with Expression which conveys poetic meaning with the help of expressions, rhythmic gaits and postures. eg. Varna, Shabda, Pada etc.
Natya : Dramatic Element like performing for a theme like Ramayana, Mahabharata etc
Hand movements are an important part of the Bharatanatyam dance. Samyuta Hasta and Asamyuta hasta are two classifications for hand movement which the links provided tohttp://www.kanakasabha.com/ portrays. The site incidentally is one of the richest sites in terms of content and available for public viewing.
The Bharatanatyam Gurus and stalwarts
One of the greatest performers in the last century have been - Balasaraswati, and she has been almost as influentially in popularizing Bharata Natyam, as much as Rukmini Devi and others. Balasaraswati was known for her soulful renderings of abhinaya or mimetic pieces in which she not only danced but also sang. Since Balasarawati there have been other greats like Kamala , Vyjayanthimala Bali , Padmini ( and her sister Ragini), Indrani Rehman and Ritha Devi.
The greats that followed them are Yamini Krishnamurthy, Sonal Mansingh,Chitra Visweswaran, Sudha Rani Raghupathy, Lakshmi Vishwanathan, USKrishnaRao and Chandrabhaga Devi. More recently we have Malavika Sarukkai, Alarmel Valli, Leela Samson, and Srinidhi Cidambaram.




Other great stalwarts are the Dhananjayans, who have launched a training institution called 'Bhaskara', Guru Adyar Lakshman and Smt Kalanidhi Narayanan from Chennai. From Mumbai/Bombay we have Gurus Mahalingam Pillai and Guru Kalyanasundaram (of the Rajarajeshwari School of Dance), Guru Parvati Kumar a great scholar and teacher, Guru Mani (Kalasadan), Guru Rajee Narayan, Guru Kadirvelu and Guru Soundararajan. The Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya founded by Padmashree Dr. Smt Kanak Rele in Bombay has a graduate and postgraduate program in Bharata Natyam


Propagation of Bharatanatyam
Being an extremely popular dance form, Bharatanatyam has no problem about propagation as both the artists and the audience vye with each other to promote the dance form through all available communication medium. Web is a popular medium. Websites likehttp://www.kanakasabha.com/ ,http://www.kutcheribuzz.com/http://www.artofindia.com/ site link to the dancepersonal blogs chandradevi's or even an unsigned but interesting one by Anita popularise the art form. 
There are also innovative articles, features and even question and answer sections like the onehttp://www.kutcheribuzz.com/ runs with popular dance teacher prof sudharani. click to go to her Q & A section 


Bharatanatyam DVDs ,videos, CDs etc


There is a lot information about Bharatanatyam including videos and songs in public domain. Search Youtube for Bharatanatyam you will come across hundreds of videos. you can begin by checking the videolinks provide right next to these paras in the same blog. 
When it comes to DVDs on Bharatnayam one great source is http://www.jayq.org/ and its Bharatanatyam page.




salangai pujai
Years of learning dance under a guru has to culminate in the public performance which is to be taken up in stages lest the artist gets consious of the stage and the audience and fails to do justice to the rigorous training received.


Salangai pujai is an etheral experience which only the budding artist would be able to relate to even though it is also an event when everyone from the family and close friends would be able to appreciate and experience the dance talent that would emnate from the frail petite soul whom they had always known as their sweet little baby.


This one is about one such sweet one Bala our neice and an iconic representation of the youth brought up independently in a traditional family unit of the ultra conservative Chennai environ.




The day was August 30 and the stage was set in Kareeneswara temple saidapet and the crowd was mostly from the near and dear of bala and her friends who were to don the salangai--the cluster of jingles which should rhythemically resonate with the feet and also sound as a warning in case of any aberration in step, the ultimate standard for dance. The tension was palpable and everything was going blank and the cacopony of voices stopped registering after some time as the three youngsters (Bala of course and her friends Swati and Jayashree) could think only of the mistakes that they could commit this evening! It is amazing that human mind just before undertaking a big task after considerable training always look at the fault lines and not the powerlines until the start of the job and after which no looking back, which is precisely what happened on this stage that evening hour.
The stage was a challenge as it was uneven and even had a gaping hole in the front which had to be factored in as the evening wore on. It was pushpanjali or the shower of flowers to the Nataraja followed by propiation of Ganesha through Ganapati Gauthuvam and the sublime alarippu the most beautiful expression of Bharatanatyam whence the beauty of the dancer would blossom forth, followed by the highly energetic jathiswaram and rounded up by Sabdam. Two quick padams followed winding up the show.
The show got over and phew, Bala has passed the first test before the audience though she says not to her desire. The next big one is there where she would go solo which is called Arangerram (Arangu means stage and Erram means performance) which is slated for July. See you there.
POSTED BY THOTHATHRI RAMAN AT 1:56 AM 0 COMMENTS 
THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2008


Dance me to future!
Dance me to future!
Purva Dhanashree, Bharata Natyam & Vilasini Natyam Dancer




"I want to do a lot in dance. I want to express my disappointments, anger and my feelings about the way the society is going and I want to express through the medium of dance the message of change to this generation. Dance is in my spirit, it is in my soul, it is something for which I would want to dedicate my life to. Though being a media person, my heart lies in dancing and expressing myself through the dance", a torrent of spirit and energy gushes forth from the youngster as smitha and I meet her after witnessing almost an hour of enthralling performance from her. Both of us were pleasantly surprised to find this spirited youngster whose words promised that nothing is going to be lost even in this utterly materialistic fast track generationl. The endearling human values would be sustained and in fact built upon by spirited youngsters like this. The kid before us was a testimony to our hope that more youngsters like this would carry the spirit of freedom and expression and true values and express it through the medium of art they chose to espouse. In our Purva Dhanashree’s case it is classical dance.


Dance after all is an expression of soul and the dancer while she is involved in her art knows nothing but her steps, nothing but the music nothing but the rhythmic swaying of her feet, for her the audience are incidental but her soul is her true audience. She is once with the soul she is one with the winds, one with the elements one with the cosmic form which is perhaps why the highest experience of dance came from the God of destruction and not of sustenance who decided to recline on his snake bed to reflect on life and the living. It is for the destroyer to dance through the life, dance through its spirit, dance to endless cycle of birth and destruction.


Purva Dhanashree perhaps was simply echoing this high ideal of seeing the world destroying itself and wanted to tell us that she would dance to rekindle the spirit of the world so that whatever is bad would be destroyed and whatever that is good would be rejuvenated and retained. There is no doubt that she has already started her journey. Her dancing style, her conviction, her words, her body language, her spirit….everything conveyed her seriousness and her commitment to the cause she has committed to.


For professionals like this perfection in art is not the end in itself but they see anny creative art as a vehicle to express the deep inner thoughts and through their expression they would seek to influence opinion and to lead people to the path that they have chosen to tread. As she danced on the stage it made us feel as one with her, made us appreciate the perfection of her rendering, the clarity of her steps, the spirit of her expressions and also of her earnestness to pack a whole world and offer it within a few minutes at her command on stage.


We could instinctively sense that we are witnessing the performance of not a youngster but a rising star, a person who would go a long way in her life, one who would see the height of perfection and height of glory of the dance form. But she needs the spirit and strength of purpose the steely will to withstand disappointments, the energy to stay on course while being confronted with the horde of selfish people who rule the world of art, the sense of honesty and truthfulness to accept her failures and not find a shortcut to glory to achieve her cherished goal. What is important however that she is on the way to do it and she knows where she is going. And that matters a lot.


I am nobody to comment about the technique of her dance or the steps that she used to express herself or about the correctness of the vilasini form of dance she rendered to us which she is learning from the master of this art Guru Swapnasundari. Smitha and me can only tell that it was an evening of great dance performance by Purva which we would cherish. We came actually to witness the performance of our favourite child Nandini Nandan and went back with two. Not bad for an evening. About Nandini's performance link to the parallel blog on Kuchipudi.


Purva Dhanashree is trained in Tanjavoor and Kalakshetra styles by Kamalini Dutt senior most disciple of Sikiil Ramaswamy Pillai and Mrs. Radhika Shurajit. She is presently training in Vilasini Natyam from Smt. Swapanasundari.
Her contact is listed as part of a comprehensive listing of dance practitioners of Delhi by anandfoundation


Dance me to future!
Dance me to future!
Purva Dhanashree, Bharata Natyam & Vilasini Natyam Dancer




"I want to do a lot in dance. I want to express my disappointments, anger and my feelings about the way the society is going and I want to express through the medium of dance the message of change to this generation. Dance is in my spirit, it is in my soul, it is something for which I would want to dedicate my life to. Though being a media person, my heart lies in dancing and expressing myself through the dance", a torrent of spirit and energy gushes forth from the youngster as smitha and I meet her after witnessing almost an hour of enthralling performance from her. Both of us were pleasantly surprised to find this spirited youngster whose words promised that nothing is going to be lost even in this utterly materialistic fast track generationl. The endearling human values would be sustained and in fact built upon by spirited youngsters like this. The kid before us was a testimony to our hope that more youngsters like this would carry the spirit of freedom and expression and true values and express it through the medium of art they chose to espouse. In our Purva Dhanashree’s case it is classical dance.


Dance after all is an expression of soul and the dancer while she is involved in her art knows nothing but her steps, nothing but the music nothing but the rhythmic swaying of her feet, for her the audience are incidental but her soul is her true audience. She is once with the soul she is one with the winds, one with the elements one with the cosmic form which is perhaps why the highest experience of dance came from the God of destruction and not of sustenance who decided to recline on his snake bed to reflect on life and the living. It is for the destroyer to dance through the life, dance through its spirit, dance to endless cycle of birth and destruction.


Purva Dhanashree perhaps was simply echoing this high ideal of seeing the world destroying itself and wanted to tell us that she would dance to rekindle the spirit of the world so that whatever is bad would be destroyed and whatever that is good would be rejuvenated and retained. There is no doubt that she has already started her journey. Her dancing style, her conviction, her words, her body language, her spirit….everything conveyed her seriousness and her commitment to the cause she has committed to.


For professionals like this perfection in art is not the end in itself but they see anny creative art as a vehicle to express the deep inner thoughts and through their expression they would seek to influence opinion and to lead people to the path that they have chosen to tread. As she danced on the stage it made us feel as one with her, made us appreciate the perfection of her rendering, the clarity of her steps, the spirit of her expressions and also of her earnestness to pack a whole world and offer it within a few minutes at her command on stage.


We could instinctively sense that we are witnessing the performance of not a youngster but a rising star, a person who would go a long way in her life, one who would see the height of perfection and height of glory of the dance form. But she needs the spirit and strength of purpose the steely will to withstand disappointments, the energy to stay on course while being confronted with the horde of selfish people who rule the world of art, the sense of honesty and truthfulness to accept her failures and not find a shortcut to glory to achieve her cherished goal. What is important however that she is on the way to do it and she knows where she is going. And that matters a lot.


I am nobody to comment about the technique of her dance or the steps that she used to express herself or about the correctness of the vilasini form of dance she rendered to us which she is learning from the master of this art Guru Swapnasundari. Smitha and me can only tell that it was an evening of great dance performance by Purva which we would cherish. We came actually to witness the performance of our favourite child Nandini Nandan and went back with two. Not bad for an evening. About Nandini's performance link to the parallel blog on Kuchipudi.


Purva Dhanashree is trained in Tanjavoor and Kalakshetra styles by Kamalini Dutt senior most disciple of Sikiil Ramaswamy Pillai and Mrs. Radhika Shurajit. She is presently training in Vilasini Natyam from Smt. Swapanasundari.
Her contact is listed as part of a comprehensive listing of dance practitioners of Delhi by anandfoundation




You are seeing the face of Aishwarya Nair! Well, the artist whom I am talking about is not someone who need to go by her name as her art is going to take her places and the name and the brand that it would carry would follow. Smitha and I had been invited to her enthralling performance at RK Puram Iyeppan Koil. Rather I should say that this was an invitation to prayer and to do so while watching the flawless footwork ofAiswarya whose performance was not picture perfect but something that went beyond and touched a chord in the heart. Honest! Why temple and why the shape of a deity? This is because the ordinary mortals have no means of witnessing the celestial dances and perhaps thought getting peace is best done standing in front of the santum santorum. For both of us, the dance itself turned out to be the soul filling experience. Iswarya, we sincerely pray should go a long way and fill the hearts and soul of many more like us. The accompanying artists, Ilangovan on vocal and the violinist and the person on Tabla (I will get their names soon enough) did a great job to make Iswarya dance to her soul of which I am definitely sure about.


I happened to meet Padmavathi, the former danuese whose background and pictures adorn this blog elsewhere, after a long gap during which period she had "hung" up her Salangai, something very sad and very poignant and a great loss for the world of Kuchupudi. She just couldnt cope with all that happened in her life, her marriage, her daughter, her career first as a lawyer, then as an AirForce Air Traffic Controller, next as a Admin head of CSS, followed by a News Anchor at a popular Telegu channel and now as its head of administration and external legal support official. A great girl that she is and she will do a lot more and perhaps may even come back to Dance and contribute in a much different way than her peers who might still be dancing or set up a dance school.
Here is one artist, a professional and one of the Dance Trios of Chennai who stuck to dance and made a great career with fan following around the world. ICCR seem to have quietly supported many an artist to go abroad and perform, looks like. Shobanaa Bhalchandra of Om Shakthi Dance School is the youngest of the renowned Trio Sisters of Chennai. A seasoned and versatile artist, she is also recognized as a senior Bharathanatyam "Guru". One of the early disciples of the famous dance duo, Dhanajayans, Shobanaa was trained in the popular Kalakshetra style. She went on to complement this with an extensive study of Abhinaya (Expressions) under Padmabushan Kalanidhi Narayanan. In her quest for all-round excellence Shobanaa underwent professional training in Classical Music as well as Nattuvangam. Her dedication to this art form is also evident by the fact that she opted for a career in performing and teaching this dance form, in-spite of having a Masters degree in Business.
Finally, I was watching two different videos of Shobhana today, the versatile actress and dancer who is equally effective in both her roles. I am not sure about the way her life has gone so far, which is quite a sad thing for a artist and performer of her greatness and also coming from a legacy of the Travancore Sisters, Padmini, Rahini and Lalitha, all three of them known for their pure dance prowess. In one video, the artist had put on unusually lot of weight and in another, a more recent one she looked a bit sick and tired with her body slightly emaciated. Whatever private hell she is passing through, she is quite dedicated to her art which one can easily discern, perhaps this is what is getting her going.


0 comments:

Post a Comment

p.

Infolinks In Text Ads

 

Copyright © bharatanatyam Design by O Pregador | Blogger Theme by Blogger Template de luxo | Powered by Blogger